Trailblazing vs Path Clearing

When we are thinking of doing something new, we often consider RESEARCH to be the starting point. One of our favorite things to do when approaching a new space is to ask someone else what they did and then ask them what they think we should do.

After all, we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, right? So, we conduct informational interviews and troll Youtubers telling us of their paths to fame. We seek to find the expert, that person who has been there already.

This is a great idea, save for one simple thing: you are not that person.

As Morpheus said to Neo in the Matrix, “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

RESEARCH helps us to reveal paths that were already there. And that may be enough for some, but what I’ve noticed in working with people, and in my own ventures, is that seeing someone else’s well-cleared path is usually not sufficient to get us started. Indeed, it can have the opposite effect: the path becomes both necessary and unappealing and therefore turns into a roadblock. Ironically, KNOWING the path can prevent us from WALKING the path.

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous, safe, proven, or celebrated that path is, if you’re not walking it, it ain’t the path for you.

With new adventures, the most important tenet is forward motion, not smart planning, so think about what you most want to do, shave off a little piece of that thing, and do it. If you follow your own curiosity and not someone else’ “tired and true” instructions, it is inevitable that you will move forward. And, although it’s uncomfortable walking knee-deep in weeds and barbs unsure of what lies ahead, it beats the heck out of standing still.

The Heist

My daughter and I love heist movies.

It’s so entertaining to watch a person or group of people do the impossible, to come up with a plan to break into a room that’s meant to be unbreakable, to beat the odds with ingenuity, careful calculation, and unrelenting optimism.

I suppose it’s this love of great heists that fuels me as a career counselor.

People come to me seeking a treasure that seems out of reach: purpose, peace, connection, a fat payout, all bundled up and tucked under a bulletproof case in a steel room with no door. We go over what they’ve tried — great ideas — but with so many failed attempts, they’ve gotten discouraged.

I don’t have a key — what good is a key when there is no door! I just have this thing with love where I never give up. I’m the stubborn safe-cracker, the wide-eyed lunatic, clutching blueprints, with a bevy of tools and the crazy idea that no room is completely locked, and no treasure is out of reach.

Calling All Angels

When making decisions, consider talking with angels. Call on someone you’ve lost. It may hurt a little at first but the end result is always positive. When we remember people who have passed (or even people who have moved far away), we long for them, and in that longing, we conjure up an image of their best self: the wisest, kindest, most confident and selfless version of them. Also in that longing is the unflappable knowledge that this person has our best interests at heart, that they can see us in our entirety and still want to help.

That’s the perfect person to ask for advice.